How Do Laser Printers Work?

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Updated February 1, 2023

If you are new to the world of printing and are shopping around for the best printers, you may wonder how do laser printers work. So we know these printers actually use lasers to make prints, but what does that mean exactly? These printers also use a substance called laser toner or just toner. This is this type of printer’s equivalent to ink. The laser hits the toner and shaves off little etchings, which are then attracted to an electrically charged drum. The toner is pressed onto paper using heat and pressure from a fuser, which becomes your prints.


  • Laser designs have quickly usurped inkjet printers for making large batches of documents.
  • These printers use lasers to etch into toner blocks or cartridges, creating prints via a negative charge or static electricity.
  • Laser-equipped printers are considered much faster than inkjet printers, and toner blocks last longer than inkjet cartridges with inkjet printers.

Before understanding the laser-printing process, it is a good idea to learn the exact definition of a laser printer. Laser printers are digital printers that, believe it or not, use lasers to create prints. These lasers are extremely accurate when compared to other printer types, so you won’t have to worry about a printer skipping lines. These printers use toner instead of ink if you are looking for a white toner printer.

Insider Tip

Toner dust can be slightly messy, depending on the printer design, so count on cleaning the unit every now and again.

Benefits of a Laser Printer

There are many benefits to choosing this type of printer over other types of printers, such as inkjet printers.


Laser printers are much faster than an average inkjet printer, even those available to regular consumers. The process by which lasers break up the toner into toner dust is simply faster than applying ink from an ink cartridge. The speed difference varies depending on your make and model, but you can count on at least a 20 to 30 percent speed increase when making batch print jobs.

Toner Lifespan

Toner blocks last longer than ink cartridges, though toner is typically more expensive. Even with the higher upfront cost, however, you will squeeze enough life out of the toner to make it worth your while. On another note, toner quite literally lasts longer than ink, as the ink dries out and toner does not.

STAT: The laser printer was the first to be invented and was done so in 1969 by Gary Starkweather while working in the Xerox product development team. (source)

Large Capacity

Laser printers typically offer a larger capacity than inkjet printers, thanks to extra-large printing trays and the presence of secondary backup trays for even more volume. This comes into play in office settings, for the most part, but is also useful to regular consumers.

Laser-Equipped Printer FAQs

Do these printers need ink?

No, they just require toner powder and a positive charge, electrical charge, or static charge, along with a piece of paper.

Are these printers better than inkjet printers?

They are not better for everything, despite being faster. Toner powder is great for printing documents but not for photos and color illustrations on a sheet of paper. Laser beams also do not do so well with color prints.

Are these printers bad for you?

It is true that the negative charge via static electricity created by toner dust is not exactly great for you, but the solution is simply wearing gloves when replacing the toner. You should do the same when replacing cartridges on an inkjet printer.
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